The ducks have now ingratiated themselves on the deck. And hang out there much of the day. The deck that I now need to re-stain immediately because the three-times-daily hose-off is hastening the stain peeling. (Note to self re. keeping the deck acceptable and not looking like an outhouse: Losing battle, as they are on the deck, messing it up again, three minutes after I spray it down.)
They’re sociable. Even if they’re at the other end of the yard, once they hear my car, they come running, jumping on the deck and staring at me through the dining room window. It’s a little creepy being watched by four sets of beady eyes. I’ve been considering parking down the road and sneaking into the house when I get home from work.
They’d already made spectacles of themselves in my back-yard gardens, and I’ve had to make some adjustments. The pro-duck books I read when we started this adventure kept touting how they will just eat the bugs and slugs off plants–and then move on! That’s a lie. They move on to eating the plants. First they started nibbling the zinnias and summer squash in the side garden until I had to put up a make-shift, tumble-down fence of plastic chicken wire. In the fall, when it’s not sweltering and we’re not in a drought, I tell myself, I’ll put in something a little more permanent and a little less… Deliverance-y. Now they’re in the garden boxes, which isn’t so bad. The strawberries are finished, so they can’t nab them, and I didn’t plant much more that I’m heartbroken to lose this year. In fact, their nibbling my arugula and basil and potato leaves has finally let me figure out how I want to integrate the boxes into the yard: Mulch in the aisles between the boxes, with a white picket fence around them. It’s going to be cute, so I appreciate the ducks hastening my plan.
In one of the other gardens in the backyard, I’ve just ceded the kale to them, although, sadly, like us they prefer the tender Russian Valley Kale over the harder, curly kind I tried this year, so they’ve eaten our favorite and left us with only the curly variety. Sylvie and I can live with that.
After a couple of days of this, Phil tried to deter them with a little wire fence on the first step. They laughed at it. (The green bowl on the first picture was water I left out for them on the deck floor until Phil suggested perhaps I not encourage them. Point taken.)
We’re devising elaborate rope-and-pulley systems to keep them off; so far nothing we’ve come up with, short of encasing the deck in a big plastic bubble, seems viable. We have another few months before we have even the promise of a duck egg. They’d better be delicious, girls.